How to Make Fresh Lemonade

Citrus lemonade

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sugar
2 cups drinking water
6-7 lemons
6 cups cold drinking water
1 cup drinking water
Reserved lemon rinds
Optional: Fresh mint sprigs

METHOD:

Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup drinking water in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Squeeze juice from lemons into a bowl, reserving lemon rinds. Strain lemon juice into a large pitcher. Stir in cooled sugar-water mixture and 6 cups cold drinking water and chill.

Bring 1cup drinking water to the boil. Place lemon rinds in a bowl and add boiling water. Let stand until water is cold. Discard rinds. Add water to pitcher and stir well.

Refrigerate until well chilled.

VARIATION: For a refreshing lemon-mint flavor, add small bunch of mint to the lemon rinds, then pour over boiling water. After mixture has cooled, strain and add to lemon juice mixture. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

YIELD: 2-1/2 quarts

Hibiscus Cooler

Hibiscus Cooler

This recipe makes a large batch of hibiscus cooler (1 gallon). Plan on making this beverage the night before planning to serve — it will be extra “juicy” and delicious with the longer brewing time.

INGREDIENTS:
1 gallon fresh filtered water (+ 1 cup more water)
1 1/4 cup Hibiscus Cooler tisane
1 1/2 cups sugar, or more to taste*
Ice, mint and lemon slices, if desired

METHOD:
In a stockpot, bring water to a boil. Stir in tisane and remove from heat. Add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to stand until cool, then decant mixture into a large pitcher — do NOT strain! Refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, strain mixture into serving container using fine mesh strainer, pressing on solids gently to extract liquid. Discard solids — throw them in the garden, if you have one.

Taste for sweetness. Hibiscus flowers are extremely tart—add a little simple syrup to adjust sweetness, if needed.

Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs, if desired.

TIP:
Make a simple syrup (1 part sugar : 1 part water) to keep on hand for sweetening. Once the beverage is cooled, added sugar will not dissolve. Place sugar and water in a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, boil one minute, and allow to cool. Decant into small pitcher.

VARIATIONS:

  • Split whole vanilla bean, scrape out seeds into warm tisane, and toss in the whole bean.
  • In a glass filled with ice, fill halfway with hibiscus cooler. Top with sparkling water and stir.

Watermelon Slushy

Watermelon juice with sliced fruit on white plate

This icy-cold slushy made with sweet watermelon is the perfect refreshment for hot summer days!

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups cubed seedless ripe, sweet watermelon
10 ice cubes
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup white sugar
2 small sprigs of fresh mint, leaves removed
1/8 teaspoon salt

METHOD:

Place watermelon and ice into a blender. Add lime juice, sugar, mint leaves and salt. Blend until smooth.

Serve immediately.

Watermelon Cooler

Watermelon lemonade

Here’s a refreshing change for a summertime drink that uses icy cold watermelon and limeade concentrate. Allow enough time to freeze the watermelon prior to preparing beverage.

INGREDIENTS:

1 small watermelon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes watermelon (8 cups)
1 1/2 cups ginger ale
1/3 cup water
1 can (6 oz) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed

METHOD:

Cut watermelon into cubes, discarding any seeds. Place watermelon cubes in 1-gallon resealable freezer plastic bag and place on small baking sheet. Arrange cubes into one layer and place in freezer. Freeze 8 hours.

When ready to make the beverage, remove frozen watermelon chunks from freezer and allow to stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

In blender, place HALF of each watermelon, ginger ale, water and limeade concentrate. Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth. Pour mixture into pitcher. Repeat with remaining ingredients and stir into mixture in pitcher. Serve immediately.

Greek Coffee (Ellinikos Kafes)

Greek coffee preparation can be prepared several ways, depending on your preference. See what Dr. Oz has to say about  Super-Powered Greek Coffee.

Special equipment:

  • You’ll need a briki a small copper or brass pot that’s narrow at the top and wider toward the bottom with a long handle.
  • Small demitasse cups that are about 2 ounces each to serve the coffee.

What to buy:

  • You must use Greek coffee, which is a light-roast, very finely ground coffee. The best Greek coffee to buy is Bravo or Papagalos (Loumidis).

Ingredients:

  • Cold water
  • Greek coffee
  • Granulated sugar, if desired

METHOD:

Use one of the demitasse cups as a measuring cup. Fill the briki with as many cups of cold water as cups of coffee you wish to make. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee grounds for each demitasse cup of coffee.

Add granulated sugar, if desired: 1 teaspoon per demitasse cup for medium-sweet (metrios) or 2 teaspoons per demitasse cup for sweet (glykys). For an extra-strong-sweet cup (vari glykos or glykys vrastos), add 3 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons coffee grounds per 2 ounces of water.

Stir just to incorporate the grounds and sugar. Place briki over low-medium heat without stirring. Do not take your eye off of the briki. As the coffee heats, foam will rise. When the foam nearly reaches the top, remove the briki from the heat and let it stand until the grounds have settled a bit, about 1 minute.

Pour a little foam into each cup, then fill each cup, moving the briki up and down to help settle the grounds. Serve with a cold glass of water.

Here’s a helpful video tutorial about  How to Make Greek Coffee.

Nettle Tea

stinging-nettle-tea

stinging-nettle-tea

Nettle tea is an old fashioned, natural spring tonic that has been used for centuries for its health benefits. Often some of the first plants to appear in spring, nettle leaves can be infused into a tea which purportedly has healthful, restorative benefits which boost the immune system and awakens the body to spring. Note: If you are taking any prescription drugs, first consult your doctor before drinking nettle tea, as it can interfere with some medications. Here’s how to brew nettle tea —

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups fresh drinking water
1 cup nettle leaves, washed

METHOD:

In a sauce pan, cover the nettle leaves with water and heat until water comes to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for a couple of minutes. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer, or weaker by adding more water.

Pour liquid through a small, fine mesh strainer into a cup. Add a small amount of honey, agave or sweetener of your choice, if desired.

You can also save the leaves and eat them later with a little butter, salt and pepper.

Kiwi Soda

A light and refreshing fruit sparkler.

INGREDIENTS
:

2 ripe kiwis, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lime, juiced
4 tablespoons agave nectar
 or simple syrup
Ice
Cold club soda

METHOD:

Place kiwis and lime juice in a blender and process until smooth.

Divide kiwi purée mixture between two tall glasses (about 1/3 cup purée per drink). Using a long spoon, stir in 2 tablespoons of agave nectar or simple syrup into each glass.

Add ice and top with seltzer. Stir gently and serve.

Lemon Barley Water

While visiting Australia during the hottest of summer months, we discovered chilled lemon barley water to be one of the most refreshing, thirst quenching drinks to enjoy when hot or thirsty. And, it’s good for you! It contains magnesium that helps regulate glucose, as well as fiber and lignans.

INGREDIENTS:

2 quarts filtered water
1 cup hulled barley (pearl barley), rinsed*
2 lemons
1/3 cup sugar (or honey) or to taste

METHOD:

Place the water and barley into a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Using a vegetable peeler, pare away the lemon peel and taking care not to cut into the white pith. Juice the lemons and set juice aside.

After the barley is cooked, strain the hot barley water through a fine mesh strainer into another saucepan and add the lemon peel. Stir in sugar (or honey). Cool to room temperature. Add lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Strain and decant the cooled barley water into a pitcher, mason jars or wine bottle with a cork. Refrigerate until chilled. Stir or shake before serving. Serve over ice with a slice of fresh lemon and a sprig of mint or scented geranium.

*You can find pearl barley in the bulk section of grocery stores. Locally, it’s available from New Leaf Market.

NOTE:

Don’t throw away cooked barley — add a little salt and pepper and serve as you would rice. Or, add the cooked barley to soup, baked beans or chili. It’s an excellent source of fiber. You can also enjoy cooked barley for breakfast! Warm the barley, add milk and maple syrup or sugar (plus a little cinnamon) and enjoy as a cereal.

Cucumber Lemonade

The addition of cucumber to traditional lemonade makes a refreshing sweet tart beverage that is perfect for a hot afternoon.

INGREDIENTS:

2 English cucumbers
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cups water
3/4 cup sugar*
Ice

METHOD:

Peel cucumbers and chop into 1 inch chunks.

Place 2 cups water, half the cucumber pieces and sugar in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour mixture into pitcher and repeat with remaining cucumber, water and sugar.

Add lemon juice to pitcher and whisk to blend. Serve immediately.

To serve, fill tall glasses with ice and pour lemonade over. Garnish with piece of cucumber,slice of lemon, or mint sprig if desired.

* 1/2 cup of agave syrup (or to taste) can be used in place of sugar.

Strawberry Rhubarb Limeade

This not-too-sweet beverage is an delightful mælange of flavors and quite refreshing.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 lb.)
2 cups strawberries, halved
3 inch piece ginger root, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
1 vanilla pod, sliced
4 cups fresh drinking water
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
20 mint leaves
Garnish: Additional strawberries, fresh mint leaves and lime slices

METHOD:

In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb pieces, strawberries, ginger, sugar, vanilla pod and water. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat.

Add the lime juice and the mint leaves. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Strain the mixture through a sieve into container or large pitcher to remove fruit pulp. Place juice in refrigerator to chill.

Serve in a large pitcher with ice, strawberries, fresh mint leaves and lime slices.

YIELD: 8 servings